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Int J Audiol. 2005 Sep;44(9):540-9.

The effect of impulse noise on distortion product otoacoustic emissions.

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ENT Department, Tzanion General Hospital of Piraeus, Piraeus, Greece.


The aim of this study was the evaluation of distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) before and after noise exposure from shooting, and the comparison of DPOAEs with pure-tone audiometry. Thirteen young male police officers were exposed to impulse noise from shooting, without using earplugs. Standard pure-tone audiometry, tympanometry, and DPOAEs were performed before exposure and at one hour post- and 24 hour post-exposure. In the one hour post-exposure testing mean pure-tone thresholds were elevated in the 1-8 kHz frequency zone and DPOAE levels were reduced at several frequencies. DPOAEs were more affected at 3 kHz or lower, whereas pure-tone thresholds were more affected at higher frequencies. After the final examination, non-significant partial shifts at high frequencies on both tests remained. Pure-tone audiometry was overall more sensitive, but DPOAEs provided additional information about the cochlear status of certain ears. These data suggest that besides behavioral testing, DPOAEs may play a role as a fast, objective, and easy to perform test for monitoring subjects exposed to impulse noise.

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